eRepublik bills itself as the "first massive online social strategy game" and what it is is best thought of as the result of a drunken night between Facebook, World of Warcraft, Risk, and a college economics class. Players are citizens of a country, where they can vote in elections, work at companies, buy products, starve if they don't eat food, write newspaper articles, move to other countries (but not vote unless they gain citizenship), and fight in battles.
The Facebook aspect comes in as citizens can post "shouts" (in 140 characters or less) and declare other citizens "friends".
The World of Warcraft aspect comes from the way users level up different skills, such as Strength (which relates to how much damage you do at war) and something job related (e.g. Manufacturing relates to how effectively you can turn raw materials into manufactured goods).
The Risk part comes in with the absurdly complex war fighting component. Countries are made of regions, and countries that share a border can invade each other. That process is the simple part. The president of a country (elected by majority vote among candidates picked by the party presidents of the 5 largest political parties by membership) declares a war, which must be approved by the congress (also elected, but on a per-region basis with a certain number of wild cards). Once approved, the president can attack a region of the country he declared war on, and the battle is fought individually by citizens with each citizen doing damage. (Wait, that's not simple at all!) And this doesn't get into the even more complex issues involving resistance wars, mutual protection pacts, or initiative.
The college economics class aspect comes from the even more complex economic system where people work at player owned companies to create goods. Inflation, income taxes, VAT, import duties, trade embargoes, natural resources, and currency exchange rates all play a part. Add to that the fact that money is constantly being removed from circulation to pay for various in-game bonuses, and things get even more complex.
But don't let that scare you off! Plenty of players get by just doing next to nothing (these are called "two-clickers"). Thus, you can actually spend a lot of your time just lolly-gagging around and hanging out, with no Munchkining necessary. Or fluctuate wildly between the two extremes.
This game provides examples of:
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts:
- When the hospitals were changed to not heal more wellness than was lost in battle, the prices of wellness items shot through the roof.
- The world market tends to run out of guns during important battles.
- After-Action Report: Be it election, battle, or just about anything, there will be newspaper articles about it.
- All Nations Are Superpowers: Or at least have the potential to be. If a country can get a baby boom they could be the most powerful country in the game. When you think of global superpowers in the real world, you wouldn't think of Pakistan, Sweden, Hungary, Romania, Poland or Indonesia. Anything is really possible.
- An Entrepreneur Is You: All items are made by players at player-owned companies from resources created at different player-owned companies (which may in turn be part of the same or different player-operated organization).
- Anti Poop-Socking: Most aspects of the game can only be done once per day. Once you drain the "Wellness" stat, the only things you can do are heal it up (which is expensive), or start yakking with other players (which is more profitable in the long run). Recently averted, when the recovery system was changed so it could allow for many more wellness recovery in less time, provided you have already drained all the wellness you can drain.
- Artistic License Geography: The admins have to periodically go in and fix borders during war after one country finds out that two regions, e.g. Kansas and Nebraska, don't share a border for some reason. Occasionally one region will border a second, but the second won't border the first.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Higher military ranks deal higher damage.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: You can buy in-game currency with real-life money. Some people do this quite a lot.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The usual result of any war between a country with lots of population against a barely populated one (unless the latter has a good set of alliances). No contest for trying to guess which one is the winner.
- Death Is Not Permanent: If you don't eat food every day (or have a good enough house) you lose wellness until you are "dead" but you get revived if you log back in... unless you get Killed Off for Real by getting permanently banned for some reason. Like operating more than one player account.
- Diminishing Returns for Balance: Skill is like this. While it takes increasing amounts of time to reach the higher skill levels, a level 10 worker only produces about three times as much as a level 1 worker.
- Fun with Acronyms: Between the Erepublik Defence & Economy Network and People of Earth Associated under Common Excellence: Global Community, it used to be easier to name the alliances that weren't crazy acronyms. ALAs, for all Ententes and Phoenixes, we can say Sol long to that era.
- Genre-Busting: The game can best be described as massivley multiplayer online strategy game meets government simulation game meets social networking site.
- Metagame: Yeah... you're gonna wanna join IRC, and the off-site forum for your country, and for your political party, and for your country's military, and that's just the start. In-game alliance does not reflect what the actual alliances are. Training wars are conducted when real wars don't happen. Territories don't always belong to who they actually belong to: stronger countries sometimes hold territories for weaker countries so that the latter can start up a resistance and be guaranteed a win if the country proper is in a real tight spot.
- Ridiculous Future Inflation: In roughly four hundred days of the New World the exchange rate between LTL (Lithuanian currency) and gold has risen from 50 LTL for one gold to over 500 LTL for one gold. And any currency exchange is with three digit precision, so 500 of a currency to 1 gold equals 0.002 gold to 1 of a currency, and once the exchange rate reaches 1000 to 1 (1 to 0.001) it has nowhere to go.
- Socialization Bonus: More a requirement. Some time ago, all companies need at least 10 people working at them to be at peak efficiency; however, after a Brazilian player was caught red-handed using more than a thousand multi-accounts on his company, the amount of workers at any given company was capped to 5. Played straight with the "Society Builder" achievement, which yields 5 gold every time 10 people you got into the game hit level 10.
- Victory Is Boring: Somewhat. True, the initial thrill of conquering another country and having an empire is great, and protecting it against resistance wars and counter attacks can be entertaining, but sooner or later a country will run out of moves to make on the map, and since War Is Glorious and makes the world go around in eRepublik, citizens in a country get really bored.
- War Is Glorious: War has no side effects apart from wounded citizens, who can then eat some food to get better. (They used to be able to heal at the local hospital, until the hospital rules were changed.) This results in countries going to war just for the training.